Possible IBS or IBD?

Greetings! I have had digestive issues on and off since I was about 30, when I was diagnosed with IBS because of severe abdominal pains. I am now 57, and my symptoms have got a lot worse over the last year — frequently recurring diarrhea being the most bothersome, along with some mild cramping and general abdominal discomfort that comes and goes in association with the diarrhea. This flare-up started shortly after my elderly father passed away in June 2017 (I was his caregiver for seven years), and is the most significant flare-up I’ve had in nearly 20 years.

Numerous tests

Because of my current age, I have had numerous tests done over the last year, including blood tests, urine tests, an abdominal/pelvic ultrasound, abdominal/pelvic CT scan, food intolerance blood test (which revealed a gluten intolerance), and I have a colonoscopy scheduled for three weeks today. I should have had the colonoscopy done last February, but I chickened out because the prep scares me so much. All the completed tests have come back normal, except the CT scan indicated the possibility of “mild IBD“, which is why the colonoscopy was recommended.

My symptoms went away for a few months this spring and summer, then started up again at the end of July, even though I am eating gluten-free (or as gluten-free as I can — I admit I sometimes cheat). In the past three months, I have had numerous isolated bouts of diarrhea that usually occur every week or two. I usually only have one loose movement, occasionally two, and then normal bowel movements in between. The loose movements aren’t completely liquid — more sloppy than anything else, like the consistency of soft porridge (sorry to be so graphic). The diarrhea usually always occurs in the mid-afternoon or early evening and is preceded by gurgling sounds and urgency. I don’t get any symptoms at night, and I sure hope it stays that way.

At this point, I am assuming IBS that has been exacerbated by the “mild IBD”, but I am thinking of also having myself checked for Celiac disease and intestinal parasites. However, I want to wait until I get the results of the colonoscopy.

Rough year

Additional health issues include depression and anxiety (lifelong), dry eyes and early onset cataracts (which makes me wonder about Celiac), and osteoporosis diagnosed in my late 40s (again, seems to be a symptom of Celiac, according to my research).

Of course, my main fear is colon cancer, although there is no blood in my stool and the CT scan didn’t pick anything up that way.

I am hoping it’s just IBS and that my symptoms will gradually subside over time, as I continue to recover from my loss of Dad and adjust to another major life change that took place at the same time. It’s been a rough year, though, on many levels.

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